Predicting where every Tennessee prospect will go in the 2024 NFL draft

Taking a closer look at the Vol's top draft prospects and where their future homes could be.

NFL Combine
NFL Combine / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

Predicting every Tennessee prospect's 2024 NFL Draft fate

  1. Jaylen Wright, RB
  2. Kamal Hadden, CB
  3. Joe Milton III, QB

The Tennessee Volunteers have long been a storied program in the history of college football, known for its exciting traditions, passionate fan base, and notable contributions to the NFL through the draft. The Volunteers' history in the NFL Draft mirrors the program's overall success, showcasing a legacy of talent that has transitioned from the collegiate ranks to the professional stage.

From the inception of the draft in 1936, Tennessee has seen a steady stream of its players make the leap to the NFL. The program boasts a rich history of producing high-caliber talent, including Hall of Famers, Pro Bowlers, and Super Bowl champions. This lineage of success highlights the University of Tennessee's ability to develop players who not only excel at the collegiate level but also make significant impacts in the professional arena.

Looking ahead to the 2024 NFL Draft, excitement is brewing once again for Tennessee and its prospects. Although only three prospects declared for the draft and participated in the NFL combine, all of them have the potential to be difference-makers in the NFL and carry on the Volunteers' legacy. 

In this article, I will highlight what makes each of these three players so special, as well as predict when and where they will go in the NFL draft. 

Jaylen Wright, RB

Jaylen Wright has made a significant mark as a running back for the Tennessee Volunteers. Standing at 5-foot-10 and weighing 210 pounds, Wright possesses an impressive blend of speed and agility, underscored by his notable 40-yard dash time of 4.38 seconds.

Wright's journey at Tennessee has been characterized by his evolution into a multifaceted back, capable of impacting the game both on the ground and through the air. His ability to navigate through tight spaces and breakaway speed makes him a constant threat to defenses. Beyond his physical attributes, Wright's game intelligence and ability to read defenses have contributed significantly to his success on the field.

Entering the 2024 NFL Draft, Wright's combination of speed, agility, and football IQ positions him as a compelling prospect. His performances have not only highlighted his potential to succeed at the next level but also his readiness to contribute to an NFL team's backfield immediately.

As teams look to add dynamic playmakers, Wright's profile as a fast, versatile running back who can add value to both the running and passing game makes him an attractive option. During the 2023 season, Wright accumulated 1154 yards from scrimmage and scored four touchdowns. Although there is no runaway number one RB, Jaylen Wright is a consensus top-three ranked back in this draft class.

The two teams that stand out as the frontrunners to draft a player like Jaylen Wright are the Cincinnati Bengals and the Green Bay Packers. Both of these teams are in win-now mode and lost their star running backs recently in free agency (Joe Mixon and Aaron Jones, respectively). Both of these teams were also attentive to Wright's NFL combine performance. 

Prediction: The Cincinnati Bengals will select Jaylen Wright with the 115 pick in the fourth round of the NFL draft. 

Kamal Hadden
Tennessee DB Kamal Hadden / Eakin Howard/GettyImages

Kamal Hadden, CB

Kamal Hadden, standing at 6-foot-1 and weighing 196 pounds, is a cornerback known for his agility and defensive prowess on the football field. His speed, evidenced by a 4.42-second 40-yard dash, complements his height and physicality, making him a formidable presence in the secondary.

In the lead-up to the 2024 NFL Draft, Hadden's performance at Tennessee has drawn attention from scouts and analysts alike. His strengths lie in his coverage skills, ability to read the quarterback, and tackle in open space, making him a versatile option for NFL teams in need of depth in their secondaries. Before enduring a season-ending injury against ‘Bama in October, Hadden was having a tremendous season. On the season, He had three interceptions, 11 pass defenses, and the highest coverage grade amongst all qualified SEC defensive backs (90.3)

Hadden's injury has definitely decreased his draft stock. With that being said, keep an eye on when and where he gets drafted, as we all know he has the potential to be sneakily good. Three teams that I think will target Hadden on day three of the draft are the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, and New England Patriots: all of these teams will vastly benefit from a player with Kamal Hadden's skill set.

Prediction: The Minnesota Vikings will select Kamal Hadden with the 177th pick in the sixth round of the NFL draft.

Joe Milton III, QB

Joe Milton III, after having transferred from Michigan to Tennessee in 2021, was finally given a full year to start and put his full ability on showcase. At 6-foot-5 and weighing 235 pounds, Milton's imposing frame is complemented by his exceptional arm strength and athleticism, traits that have become synonymously associated with his name after the NFL combine.

Throughout his college career, Milton has demonstrated the ability to make plays both in the air and on the ground, combining his powerful arm with surprising mobility. His size and strength enable him to withstand pressure in the pocket and extend plays, while his downfield vision and accuracy pose a constant threat to defenses.

At Tennessee, Milton's growth has been evident, particularly in his understanding of the game and leadership on the field. Despite facing challenges, including competition for the starting role and adapting to a new offensive system, he has shown resilience and improvement. In 12 starts during the 2023 season, Milton passed for 2,813 yards and threw 20 TDs to five picks. He also rushed for 299 yards and scored seven touchdowns on the ground. 

Although those numbers may be underwhelming to some, there is no denying that Milton has a special arm talent. Expect many teams to keep Milton on their radar, especially on day three of the NFL draft. Teams that seem in dire need of a QB to backup their starter, such as Milton, include the Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, and New England Patriots 

Prediction: The New Orleans Saints will draft Joe Milton III with the 199th pick in the sixth round of the NFL draft.